Alpha closing 8 mines, cutting 1,200 jobs in allThe good people of Wise County and Buchanan County did nothing to deserve this. They simply got caught up in Obama's war on coal - and circumstances beyond their control.
By Vicki Smith, Associated Press
Morgantown, W.Va. (AP) — Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources said Tuesday it was cutting production by 16 million tons and eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide, laying off 400 workers immediately by closing mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The mine shutdowns start Tuesday, while the rest of the layoffs will be completed by the end of the first quarter after Alpha fulfills current sales obligations, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Crutchfield said. In all, the layoffs amount to nearly a tenth of Alpha's 13,000-person workforce.
Alpha said it was closing four mines in West Virginia, three in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. They are a mix of deep and surface mines, and all are non-union operations.
Support positions will also be cut proportionally as Alpha reduces its operating regions from four to two, Crutchfield said, and two executives will retire Nov. 1.
Crutchfield said the shutdowns and layoffs are a necessary part of ensuring Alpha survives in what has become a difficult U.S. market, where coal companies face a dual challenge: Power plants are shifting to cheap, abundant natural gas, while companies like his face "a regulatory environment that's aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal."
The affected West Virginia operations are the Alloy deep mine near Powellton, the Alloy surface mine near Boomer, the Premium highwall mine near Gilbert and the White Flame Surface Mine near Wharncliffe. The Virginia mines are Guest Mountain deep mines No. 8 and No. 9 near Norton, and the Twin Star Surface Mine near Hurley. In Pennsylvania, Alpha will close its Dora deep mine in Jefferson County. [link] [emphasis mine]
Lest you forget, Obama is pleased. He thinks he's saving the environment. One coal mining family at a time.